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Now that school is out for most, do your plans include summer camp?
The stay-at-home orders has been difficult for most, but I don't miss the crammed back days. Early rising and/or extremely scheduled days have never been my favorite but there is something to be said about planning ahead. Being carefree can often mean too many hours in front of the television or sleeping half the day away. Summer camp would have been a great option and even though restrictions are being lifted in most areas, I am just not ready. Most kids are struggling with keeping their mask on and have to constantly be reminded of social distancing. If you have ventured out to a Target store lately then I am sure you've seen parents constantly nagging their kids and I don't just mean the toddlers. Thinking about what the summer will look like has prompted me to create “Covid Camp” (Camp at Home).
Researching camps in my area revealed that there are quite a few programs that are moving forward with face to face programs while others have resorted to a virtual camp. I introduced Covid Camp to my kids and neither seemed excited until they realized that they would play an integral role in the planning. There are of course a few must haves but basically I want this to be a fun learning experience. Think do it yourself summer camp.
What is Summer Camp at Home?
Summer camp at home is where you are the camp counselor and activities are planned much like would happen at an in person camp. Each week we will create projects that will mostly be geared toward teens but can be adapted for younger kids.
Here are the steps that we used to plan to our Covid Camp at Home.
Brainstorm: Teenagers have lots of ideas when you pull it out of them or if they think that your ideas might not be that fun. My son will be applying to colleges this year and I want him to think about the experience and how we can use covid camp to enhance it. Discuss what they are looking forward to most about the upcoming school year and how you can use the summer as a planning map. Virtually there are free options that allow them to get a jump on that math class that they are dreading or brush up on their foreign languages skills. Having themed weeks makes it easier to plan ahead.
Think about the goals that they wanted to accomplish when the school year started. Most of them are probably left unmet since the pandemic ended things so abruptly. Creating a bucket list could get them excited.
Set Parameters: The summer is meant to be carefree so make certain camp does not become a burden. Be flexible but clear on what the daily plan is. Our activities include daily chores such as washing dishes and clothing which is not negotiable.
Teachable Moments: Covid Camp will be filled with teachable moments. I think back to all the things that I accidentally taught myself during college and remember calling my mom every few minutes to ask questions wishing she were there. The lifeskill learned now will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Use What You Have: We have drastically limited our store runs to necessity and yes amazon has been here more times than needed but don't feel that you have to run out and buy lots of stuff. Plan your weekly themes around things already in the house or easily available at the dollar store. It is also a great way to reduce waste and teach kids about saving the planet. Don't forget to save any receipts for purchases as your home summer camp might be tax deductible.
Challenges/Rewards: Keep the kids motivated with challenges and rewards. I tend to reward them with things were going to get anyway but didn't know.
Tech Time: Technology is your friend so use it accordingly. Schedule time for Tik Tok challenges or learning a new skill such as creating/editing videos. There are lots of free websites available to learn skills that they can ultimately be paid for. Don't forget that video games such as the Nintendo Switch offer games that involve movement which is perfect for the days when going outside is not possible.
Benefits of Summer Camp for Teens
How often do you look at your teen and feel like time is passing by so quickly? For me it seems like almost everyday especially when a memory pops up. Teen life is busy! Summer camp allows them to be a kid again while enjoying things like hiking, scavenger hunts and water activities. Maybe they want to try out a new sport without the pressure of being perfect.
How Many Weeks for Summer Camp?
The good thing about hosting summer camp at home is that you and the family are the directors. Typical camps last anywhere from one week to six depending on the type. Our DIY Camp will last six weeks unless I decide to extend it with out activities or the kids ask for more.
How are you keeping your kids busy this summer? Check back for an updated list of our virtual activities and how you can participate.